US-Road Trip Part I: A bag full of yarn

My sisters are the best. They might not get my love for yarn and knitting, but they do go to yarn shops for me anyway. One of them walked through half of Amsterdam to get me a souvenir from Stephen & Penelope this spring. The other one greeted me at San Francisco International with a bag full of treats she picked out for me at House of Yarn in Nashville. There are worse ways to be greeted after nearly 24h of traveling.

I knew what I was getting, as I had shown her some pictures of Fades and told her to pick something for me. And we actually ended up having a video call, when she was at House of Yarn, to discuss the different possibilities she had prepared with the help of the lady at the store. But still, to see the yarns for myself and hold them, was so amazing. I might have spent a good moment cuddling them, trying out different combinations and taking pictures.

The next day, before getting the RV, we had some sightseeing planed and by pure coincidence there happened to be a yarn store on our path 😉 As I was in charge of the itinerary, you will begin to see a pattern there. Luckily my family didn’t mind that much.

So, we made a stop at Imagiknits. I must admit that I was totally overwhelmed. I’m not used to this kind of yarn stores. With such a large choice of different yarns, yarns I’d never seen in person until then, still a bit Jetlagged. It was a lot to take in. I ended up walking around the store in a daze, petting all the different yarns. In theory I had a shopping list, with some ideas of what I wanted to look out for, but somehow, I forgot about it whenever I entered a yarn store during the trip. In the end I bought the softest yarn I’ve ever touched in my life. A skein of Woolfolk SNO.

A Knitting Q&A

Inspired by the questions Karen posted and answered on her blog NothingButKnit, I thought I’d give you my answers to the questions as well, and allow you a glimpse into my knitting life.

What technique were you surprised that you enjoyed?
Brioche! I saw a lot of people ravishing about it last winter, and knitting all things brioche. But I was pretty skeptical if any one technique could really be that amazing. Having tried it out now, I have to say there is something about it, especially two-color brioche, that I enjoy very much. It is just so squishy and I love the way the colors play together. I’m also starting to get the hang of increases and decreases, which takes my brioche knitting to a whole new level.

What technique do you want to love, but don’t?
Sweaters knit in pieces. I love the idea of them and the structure the seams give the garment, but I just can’t be bothered. You finish all the knitting without knowing for sure if the garment will fit and then you also have to do all the seaming before you get any idea of the finished object. That said, if I really want a sweater I’ll still do it. I will just enjoy the process a little less than usual.

What is your favorite item to make?
A tough one, but it has to be sweaters. While I love knitting shawls and socks, it’s sweaters that inspire and motivate me the most. There are so many different patterns I still want to make. It is where I can live out my love for different textures to the fullest. Cabled sweaters anyone?

You’re only allowed to knit with one yarn weight forever. What weight is it and why?
I have a special place in my heart for DK weight, it is just so versatile. I can use it for knitting a sweater (held single or double) and it is still possible to make a nice, warm pair of socks. And depending on the fiber content, it is really a yarn for all seasons (except for the heatwave we’ve had this summer 😉 )

What item that you made is your all-time favorite?
Definitively my Knox Sweater! An amazing pattern by Michele Wang, that I knit with West Yorkshire Spinners Croft yarn. I really love how the speckles in the yarn give it a bit of interest, without competing with the cable pattern. Can’t wait for the weather to get cooler, so I can cuddle up in it again.

You can find the original post and Karens answers here.

Knitting the Boho Blush Shawl

I’ve known for a while, that I wanted to knit the Boho Blush Shawl by Andrea Mowry. Actually since I first saw glimpses of it, when Rachel from the Hey Sister Podcast was test-knitting it. I was kind of surprised, when I learned that it was knit with fingering weight yarn, as it looked so squishy and soft.

It took me a while to find the right yarn for knitting it though. I wanted something plump and with a bit of a halo to really make it as warm and hyyge as possible. Buying the Faerbstoff Yarn, I had actually a cardigan in mind. Only a few days later it hit me, that this was actually the perfect yarn to knit myself a Boho Blush Shawl. The color, the feel of the yarn and the drape it gets from its 25% silk content.

Having never knit the Brioche Stitch before, it took me a few tries to get the first brioche section right. By the last one I was able to talk to people and watch TV though. In general the project was really nicely suited for social or TV knitting, as it alternates between simple garter stitch sections and the interest adding brioche and simple lace. The one thing I have to say, is that due to the shape of the shawl, the rows just take forever by the end. There are quite a few rows to do at 500+ stitches. I really had to just force myself to power through to get it finished.

I made two alterations to the pattern. First I actually went with a 3sts garter-tab for the CO edge, as this makes it flow better with the rest of the edge. I then fudged stitches around a little to be able to pick up the right number of stitches for the first row. And secondly I omitted the fringe. I do like the look, but it isn’t really my style and I feel like not having the fringe makes it more versatile to wear.

Can’t wait for the cooler weather to come, so I will be able to wear it.

have an amazing day and don’t quit knitting in the meantime,

XX Tina

The Secret Lives of Color

I’ve always had a fascination with colours. Not just the colours we see, but how they are made and where they come from. I have this tendency of buying art supplies, just because they have pretty colours and look so nice together, and then never use them. I’ve even wrote my master thesis on the use of colour in films to convey moods and different worlds/states of mind.

The first book about colours and their origins I came in contact with, was: Color: A Natural History of the Palette by Victoria Finlay. So, it comes to no surprise that: The Secret Lives of Color caught my eye. The title, the minimalistic cover ant the fact that the pages are colour-coded on the cut edge. I just had to pick it up and have a look.

I really like the book. I’ve read it pretty much cover to cover, but you could also just dip in and out, guided by one interesting colour or another. There is a short introduction on colour, colour vision and the link between colour and language, and then it is just a treasure chest of stories in relation to colour. Some I’ve heard before, some new, some scientific, some linked to the art world, some to fashion, some short, some long. Just this amazing collection giving a glimpse of another world and other times. I would really recommend this book for someone as fascinated by colour as me, or as a coffee table book to serve as inspiration and starting point for discussions that go beyond favourite colours.

As a knitter and maker, I like the fact that knowledge about colour can add another dimension to a project. Knowing that today this colour is produced like this, but a few hundred years ago it would have been like this. To know that until very recently, I wouldn’t have been allowed to wear purple as a woman and commoner. That in general the world used to be way less colourful or with a different colour palette to what we are used to today.

This book is based on and extended upon a column, author Kassia St. Clair is writing for Elle Decoration. For more of her writing, I highly recommend checking out her website. On the 4th of October she also has a new book coming out: The Golden thread: How Fabric Changed History, that I’m really looking forward to.

Some more colour related books I want to check out or own, are:

Have a lovely day and keep making,

XX Tina

Keep Calm and use Recycled Yarn

I rarely buy knitting Magazines at the newsstand. Most of the time I feel like they are still talking about an old style of knitting. Still pretty much all the garments knit in pieces, and no taking into consideration hand dyed yarns or the like.

However, I recently made an exception for “Stricktrends” magazine. Firstly, because I liked the design on the front page. Something a bit out of the ordinary and something I could see myself wearing and secondly, because they had an article about yarns, that are partly or entirely produced from recycled fibers.

There is a lot of talk concerning non-superwash yarns, breed specific yarns, or so- called rustic yarns. There are also people who buy second-hand sweaters and unravel them to knit something new. But until now I’ve never really heard pepole talk about recycled yarns. And I think there is a huge potential here. A yarn that isn’t demanding new resources, but one that is using materials already inside the fiber- and fashion industry cycles, giving them a second life.

The yarns featured in the article are:

The one’s I’m most curious about and would like to try out, are the Pascuali and the ggh one. And at some point I do plan to knit myself a jumper with the Cashsoft Baby by Lang Yarns.
Do you know of any more recycled yarns or have tried some? I would love to hear about it in the comments section.

xx Tina